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Water lawsuit response deadline is now Jan. 29

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Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior reporter
For a third time, a judge has granted the city of Ventura’s request for an extension in a groundwater adjudication lawsuit.
Last week, the city filed papers asking Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger to extend to Jan. 29, 2021, the deadline for property owners to decide if they want to participate in the lawsuit over use of the Ventura River watershed.
The judge granted the extension on Oct. 21, according to city of Ventura officials.
The former deadline to respond was Oct. 30.
The extension will give people additional time to review a locally proposed plan and court-approved settlement agreement released on Sept. 15, according to city of Ventura officials.
The so-called “physical solution” was developed by a coalition composed of the city of Ventura and four other large water users, including the Ventura River Water District and Meiners Oaks Water District.
The largest water purveyor in the Ojai Valley, Casitas Municipal Water District, withdrew from the mediation in March, saying the talks were not producing anything the district could agree to.
On Feb. 27, property owners were given a six-month extension, to Sept. 8, to decide if they wanted to participate in the litigation.
In anticipation of the physical solution being released on Sept. 15, the city requested and the court granted a second deadline extension, to Oct. 30.
The deadline extension will give property owners more time to decide whether to enter the case by filing an answer or whether they can agree to the physical solution, according to Miles Hogan, Ventura assistant city attorney.
“The city and other proposing parties will continue to meet and confer with people who have questions about the proposed physical solution,” Hogan wrote in an email to the Ojai Valley News.
The next status conference in the case set for Nov. 16, city officials said.
For more information on the lawsuit and for updates, visit www.venturariver.com.

 

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